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Irish Fines Fund—Question

Volume 229: debated on Monday 15 May 1876

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asked the Secretary to the Treasury, If he will state why the payment to the Consolidated Fund of £500 annually (charged upon the Irish Fines Fund by the Act 6 and 7 Vic. c. 78, towards the salary of the Chief Remembrancer of the Court of Exchequer, who was then auditor of accounts of Fines and Penalties), still continues to be made, although the office of Chief Remembrancer was abolished by the Act 13 and 14 Vic. c. 51, and a separate department was then established for the audit of these accounts, the expenses of which department are also charged upon the Irish Fines Fund, which thus appears to have been for the last twenty-five years charged doubly for the discharge of the same service?

in reply, said, the payment referred to by the hon. Member still continued to be paid under the authority of the section of the Act he had mentioned. There was nothing in the section to show that the payment was intended to cover the cost of auditing the Fund, though comparing the section with Section 21 of 6 & 7 Vict. c. 56, it was, perhaps, not an unfair inference to suppose that it was. But the Treasury held that, even admitting that that was the object of the payment, it was not incumbent on them to resign the money, because in strictness the whole capital of the Fines Fund belonged to the Exchequer. An opinion to that effect was given jointly by the English and Irish Law Officers in 1867, and in the following Session a Bill was introduced to provide for the transfer of the capital to the Consolidated Fund. The Bill, it was true, was not proceeded with; but no question seemed to have been raised as to the facts set forth in the Preamble.